Forest Service offers safety tips |

Forest Service offers safety tips

Staff Reports

Warm temperatures have accelerated melting of the snowpack — streams and rivers will be cold, swift and high. Snowmelt water is extremely cold and exposure for even a few minutes can cause hypothermia. Avoid crossing flooded areas and keep in mind stream and river levels can fluctuate rapidly. A stream crossed early in the day may not be crossable later in the day as temperatures warm, U.S. Forest Service officials said.

Hikers are advised that 2-20-plus feet of snow remains in the backcountry. Trails may not be visible, so a map and compass are essential, along with proper footwear, clothing and gear. In addition, your mobile device may not work in some areas so develop an emergency plan in case you cannot call for help.

Expect Lake Tahoe beaches to be much narrower than in previous years — some beaches with vegetation or rocky shoreline may be inaccessible. Arrive early to beat the crowds and use this opportunity to explore new areas.

Due to the large amount of snow remaining in some areas, many trails, roads and some campgrounds are still closed. Check for the latest closure information.

Campfires and portable charcoal grills are only allowed in designated campgrounds and are never allowed on the beach or in the general forest. A California campfire permit is required for gas stoves outside of designated areas. Think first and learn more about Keeping Tahoe Fire Safe at

Finally, remember to pack out all garbage. Read more about leave no trace principles at

The Forest Service office in South Lake Tahoe is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information on staying safe in the National Forest, visit